A few years ago, I gave a speech to the Western Golf Association Evans Scholar Foundation. That speech, which addressed leadership and goal-accomplishing tactics, later become a book called Out of Reach but in Sight: Using Goals to Achieve Your Impossible.
I’m releasing portions of that speech, starting several minutes in, as a series of blog posts so you can enjoy some of the content. If you’re interested in seeing the material in its entirety, check out Out of Reach but in Sight: Using Goals to Achieve Your Impossible or go to my YouTube Channel to listen to the pre-recorded audio.
…Why do we live? What do we live for?
It was a Wednesday during the last week of June (2013). It was late in the evening. I hadn’t yet conceptualized what I wanted to say to you. I had the question I’d ask myself as the basis for this talk, but I didn’t have the answer. Like a lot of people, when you have something on your mind and you go to sleep, you tend to dream about it.
Before I tell you the dream, I’d like to explain what I do professionally so the dream makes sense. I’m a professional recruiter. I founded a recruitment firm approximately ten years ago called milewalk. Just like the name sounds, I walked a mile in your shoes. To explain at a very high level, companies large and small need to find employees to work at their companies. They need to find people for jobs. Most companies are not equipped to find all the employees they need to make their companies work effectively. Sometimes they encounter situations where they either need a lot of people or they need a person with a very unique skillset. To help them find the right people, they engage a professional recruitment firm to recruit those individuals on their behalf. That’s what we do. We help companies find people for their jobs.
We also get to work with the employees. We find them. We interview them. We evaluate them to see if they and the companies are a good fit for one another. That’s one of the best parts about what we do—helping both parties improve themselves. It’s fantastic, and I really enjoy it.
Now let’s get back to my dream. I went to sleep and found myself in the house I grew up as a child. My parents lived in this particular house for more than twenty years. It was a fantastic house filled with lots of love. There was Mom, Dad, and me, and then came along my two sisters and brother. Even my grandmother lived with us for a long time. We had a dining room and living room that were right next to each other. They formed a really big great room. We had big parties there.
I was in the dream. I was standing in the dining room. Sitting at the dining room table were a bunch of people. I noticed at one end of the table was the big boss from one of the companies we were representing (hiring on behalf of). Around the rest of the table were people he worked with. All of these people were my clients. At the other end of the table was my job candidate. This was the potential employee we recruited. We were trying to get the two of them to join each other. They were talking. I couldn’t really make out what they were saying. You know how dreams are.
In walked my mother. She came from the kitchen, which was next to the dining room. She was carrying two big volumes—scrapbooks she had prepared for me as a gift for my fortieth birthday a number of years ago. This part is actually real. The two big volumes were in her hands. They covered the first twenty years and the second twenty years. There they were in all their glory. In them were pictures of everything you could imagine from my life. I was born. There were pictures. I went to kindergarten. There were pictures. There was football, baseball, eighth-grade graduation, high school, college, jobs, and the companies I started. There were more pictures. It was the most amazing gift I’ve ever gotten in my life.
She decided she wanted to show everybody these books. She started to tap my clients on the shoulders. I thought, Oh no! Mom! Please. No. No. It didn’t matter. She gave me the big wave of her hand that said, “Andrew, I’m your mother. I get to do whatever I want. I’m showing these pictures.” I was thinking, Please, not the ones with the bad hair and the braces too!
Around the table she went. She tapped everyone on the shoulder. She flipped through the books. Finally, when she was done, she left. They all got up. They started to move toward the door. I raced over. I wanted to shake everybody’s hand on the way out. The big boss was last.
I asked, “Well, how’d it go?”
He replied, “We liked your guy. We want to hire him.”
“Yeah, that’s not even the best part.”
“What’s the best part?” I asked.
“We all really loved getting to see the pictures of your life,” he answered.
“Because that is what life is all about. What you do every day matters far more than what you do once in a while.”
It’s the day to day. It’s not so much the major milestones that really make you. It’s like that in everything, from your relationships to school to work. Straight As do not happen because you’re a whiz. They require smart studying or perhaps efficient studying. They require analysis and evaluation and so on and so forth. Promotions at work do not happen because you completed one project successfully. Smart, hard work every day is what matters.
Now I want to go back to the question. Why do we live?
Well, I’ll tell you what I live for. I have two goals. They’re so simple I don’t have to write them down. The first one is I want to be happy. I want to have fun in my life. I know what makes me happy, but I’ve also done quite a bit of soul searching. That’s number one.
The second is I want to make you the best you you can be. I don’t want to help make you the you he thinks you should be or she thinks you should be or your parents think you should be or your teachers think you should be or, even worse, society thinks you should be—just the best you you want to be. Nobody can be better at being you than you, so I want to make you the best you.
For me, that goes for everyone who passes me in life. I want to make others better for having met me. I also want to reach out to people I’ve not yet met and make them better. That’s what I’m working on now. So there you have my two goals.
There are two more things I want to tell you. They are probably the most important things I’m going to say in the next half hour. If you don’t remember anything I say for the next half hour except these two things, you’ll be able to figure the rest of life out. Just remember these two things. I’ll say them a few times because they are a central theme.
N-u-m-b-e-r one—the most important thing I’m going to say:
“A goal, to me, is nothing more than a vehicle to enhance your enjoyment of something you love. If it doesn’t do that, it’s not worth setting.”
Number two—the second most important thing I’m going to say:
“The actual attainment of the goal is far less important than the positive impact working toward that goal will have on your life.”
If you can keep those two thoughts in mind, you’ll be OK. I think you’ll get what you want out of life if you look at things that way.
Up next in this series: Where Do Goals Come From?
In other exciting news, The Hiring Prophecies: Psychology behind Recruiting Successful Employees is now for sale!